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Supplement of the Month
Sep 1, 2004
How Alternative Meds Might Benefit Your Diabetes Control
As part of our Food for Thought section, we will begin profiling a
nutritional supplement every month.
Research indicates that some vitamins, herbs and supplements may be
beneficial to diabetes control. Always check with your diabetes care
team before adding one to your regimen, as some may be unsafe for you or
could interact with your other medications.
What follows is a summary of research explaining the benefits of some
nutritional supplements, as well as their recommended daily dosages.
Alpha-lipoic acid (lipoic acid): May help to
relieve nerve pain
The recommended daily dosage is 100 to 600 mg
Benflotiamine: May help to prevent
Two daily doses of 400 mg each are recommended, but it is best to start
at lower doses and slowly bring the dose up to the maximum
Nopal (prickly pear): May increase insulin
The recommended daily dosage is two capsules with a meal three times
Pycnogenol (pine bark extract): May improve blood
vessel and retinal health
The recommended daily dosage is one to two 30-mg tablets
Psyllium: May slow glucose absorption
The recommended dosage is one or two capsules with meals, once or twice
Quercetin: May offer antioxidant protection
The recommended dosage is 100 mg, three times daily
Vitamin C: May lower heart disease risk
The recommended daily dosage is 200 to 500 mg
Vitamin E: May lower A1C levels
Recent research has not shown vitamin E to offer heart disease
prevention properties as once thought. Doses of vitamin E should not
exceed 400 international units (IU). If you take cholesterol-lowering
meds, consult your doctor before taking vitamin E.
Some of the dosage recommendations included in this article were provided
by Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE, professor of pharmacy at Washington State
University; James F. Balch, MD, co-author of “Prescription for
Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements” (Avery Books, 2000);
Steven Bratman, MD, the medical authority for AlternativeDiabetes.com;
David Edelberg, MD, the medical authority for WholeHealthMD.com; Nature’s Sunshine Products, Inc.; Nutrition 21 (the maker of Diachrome); Herbal Information Center; International Diabetes Center; “Herbs and Supplements in Diabetes” (IDC Publishing, 2003)
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